Beyond the beauty of Fall foliage, they are protectors and mirrors of our souls

Photo credit: Kristina Leonardi

This time of the year here in the Northeast, trees get a lot of attention for the vivid colors and gorgeous glamour they show off as part of their Fall Fashion.

In addition to being justifiably dazzled by the spectacular cosmetics that Mother Nature applies to her leafy children to display on your social media, make sure you pause for a few moments to feel gratitude and reverence — because basically we wouldn’t be able to breathe without them — and pay your respects as they grieve the loss of so many of their cousins on the opposite side of our country.

Over the past several years, I’ve felt more and more appreciation for and connection to these gentle giants of our world (I always think of the Ents in Lord of the Rings) and have used them in my own healing, either by hugging, standing with my back against them, or simply being in their presence and absorbing all the negative ions and grounding vibes they provide us humanfolk. One recently even gave me the childlike joy of letting me swing on it!

Right now is also when, here in 2020, we are being required to be internally and externally stronger than ever. How do you become strong? By exercising metaphoric or literal muscles you haven’t had to use for a while, if ever, or perhaps you didn’t even realize you had — over time, under stressful conditions.

Like in this previous essay, I just wanted to remind you that life — like the acorn that becomes an oak tree — is truly about the journey, not the destination. And that things will look and feel differently along the arduous way: It’s how you confront, adapt, heal and grow from the inevitable challenges and wounds (new or old) that arise. That is what strengthens our “trunk” and allows us to weather the next storm.

And yes, we are in the midst, or perhaps still at the beginning, of the biggest collective storm ever, so make sure you find the right balance of being detached from the winds and lightning, yet connected enough to yourself and others to do what you can to make the best of it. I realize this is much easier said than done!

It takes awareness, courage and practice. And just like those mighty oak trees, the older we get and more experiences we withstand and move through, the wiser and more impenetrable we become to adversity — and thus can provide a serene shelter within ourselves, and to all those who need it.


Looking for more illustration of the above? This video talks about how the acorn doesn’t become an oak tree overnight; this Instagram post has photos and video of Angel Oak and this one has a tree that made me feel like a little girl again.

If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth about my views on personal growth, check out this podcast-style interview with Rick Young of What’s in Your Hand Radio Show.

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Kristina Leonardi is a nationally recognized career and life coach, speaker and author who for over 13 years has empowered individuals to make lasting professional and personal changes aligned with their true passions and talents while fulfilling their role in the world at large. With a holistic and personal growth-oriented approach, she has helped hundreds of men and women over the past decade improve their job performance, enter or re-enter the job force, change careers, better manage their time and stress, and live happier, more meaningful, balanced lives. Her specialty is working with people who feel stuck or are in transition and can help you clarify exactly what you want to do, identify blocks, issues, and patterns in your way, and offer proven ideas, resources, and action steps to get you there.

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